Pic of the Week 9/17/21
"Aspen Trees Colorado"
Location: Monarch Pass Colorado
Date taken: 9/24/17
© Ben Jacobi
It has been much too long since I’ve shared a Pic of the Week. There was a lull in my photography and for almost a month I didn’t even pull out my camera. On top of that, both myself and my wife ended up catching COVID and pneumonia! We’re all fine now, but we were in quarantine for 24 days. You can imagine that would plummet anyone’s moral. The one good thing about isolation is that you have so much more time. Time to clean up around the house, time to practice or hone new skills, time to just pause and reflect. That is what I did mostly. Reflect. And that brought me looking into the forgotten images from some of my past photo adventures.
Since were already halfway through September, I thought about my 2017 trip to Colorado and dug through the depths of my external hard drive to see if I could bring any new life from that time. Fall is among us, and the leaves are starting to change in the higher mountainous country of Colorado, New Mexico, and the like. While searching through my archives I found this roadside scene that had always captured my attention. Only now, have I taken the time to process this photo and although its not my favorite photo I captured while on this journey, it still stirs something within me making me want to go back there. Back to the high-altitude crisp air where the mountain sides are covered in pines and splashes of fall color are dotted throughout the forest.
It was our third day in Colorado, and we had spent the morning packing up camp and driving back west to try and catch Blanca Peak in glorious sunrise light. After finishing our sunrise shoot, we started north in the San Luis valley. 14,000+ft granite behemoths enclosed us on both sides. When we reached Poncha Springs we turned west on highway 50. From this road we would ascend another 3000 feet to reach Monarch Pass. The drive was relatively flat until we reached Maysville, and as we turned the corner, we caught our first glimpses of Aspen high up on the mountain. As we drove further west, we gained more elevation, and the Aspen trees became more prevalent. Flashes of gold gleaming in the sunlight really stood out against the darker green around them. They were almost like beacons signaling “Photograph me!” to any photographer who came by. We must have pulled over a dozen times to photograph these patches of Aspen.
It wasn’t long before we reached Monarch and highway 50 curls back to the south following the outline of Monarch Ridge North. At this point we are now over 10,000ft elevation and climbing higher only reveals more beautiful scenes. An abandoned gold mine caught our attention and we pulled over to photograph the old structure. While it was interesting the light was starting to get harsh, and I soon stared looking for other things to photograph. I turned around and saw small aspen trees and one fallen branch leaning diagonally across the scene. The Aspen leaves shone brightly against the dark background and the leaves almost seemed to follow the diagonal of the fallen tree branch. I raised my camera and captured several images before we climbed back into the car and continued with our journey. This image has long been forgotten, resting quietly on my hard drive buried under piles and newer work. I am glad I decided to revisit these photos and finally share this tranquil Aspen scene with you.